Steampunk conventions are a great way to meet people, share creative ideas and the love of the genre, and learn something new by attending one of the many panels of experts held at every event.
There are conventions all over the country, but if you’re in the South you’re lucky enough to be close to some of the best conventions there are.
The Steampunk Extravaganza in Greenville, South Carolina was first held in November of 2010, and since then has been a fun and fascinating annual celebration of steampunk and Victorian history in all its many aspects.
From the fan-made fashion to the interesting and engaging panel discussions — on Victorian steam trains; writing steampunk novels; and the technology in H.G. Wells’ works, to name just a few — the convention is an all out celebration of all things steam for one glorious weekend.
Over 300 people attended the convention its second year, as well as numerous vendors offering everything from a Victorian inspired corset or shoes to handmade armor and steampunk goggles.
Highlights of the yearly event, according to the attendees, are the Victorian tea, the live music, and the Ball. The costume contests provide ample opportunity for showing off all the stunning original fashions crafted by the lovers of steampunk in attendance, both men and women. These events are a great way to take in the best of the creations on display and to find inspiration for your own steampunk attire.
In Atlanta, Georgia, the Anachro Con has been going strong since 2009, offering lovers of alternate history and steampunk a place to gather and celebrate the fashion, fact, and fiction of the Victorian era.
The main con takes place every February, with historical reenactments and lectures on science forming just a part of the busy schedule. Over the summer, however, the group puts on their Summertime Steampunk event, an outdoor evening dedicated to Victorian alt history. The steampunk Nerf battle is the biggest focus of the night, although the costume contest with its surprise grand prizes is also a favorite.
Anachro Con is great because the organizers are passionate about creating an environment that’s welcoming for everyone, no matter what your preferred version of history, and they work hard to make their events safe for all their guests.
The Big River Steampunk Festival in Hannibal, Missouri is an unmissable event for steampunk fans. The town itself is a historical landmark and its Victorian and Edwardian buildings and architecture make the perfect backdrop for a weekend devoted to everything steampunk. Tour the mansions on millionaires row or the incredible field of airships brought to exhibit, do some shopping in the Emporium, or attend a seminar led by one of the experts on Victorian history, science, and science fiction that come to the con every year.
Because this con is held throughout the entire town of Hannibal there are lots of free and public events over the course of the weekend, including parades, seminars, and the entertainments on the main stage. Come in costume or wear your street clothes — either way you’ll have a great time.
Finally, while not exclusively steampunk, the Necronomicon, held in St. Petersburg, Florida, is a weekend full of science fiction and horror events, discussions, and parties. This convention was started all the way back in 1982 and its long history has made it one of the most polished and exciting gatherings of its kind.
The Masquerade and the Hall Costume Contest are great places to show off your carefully constructed period costume and to mingle with the other well-dressed attendees. The Necronomi-Prom is another fun place to show off your fancy duds, and a new theme every year lets costume enthusiasts really stretch their muscles by designing something unique.
Wherever you go to celebrate your love of steam you can count on finding plenty of other fans to share it with and events that engage both your imagination and your intellect. Conventions and group events are such a great outlet because they offer the opportunity to meet like-minded folks in person to talk shop and form friendships that last long after the convention has ended.
Have you ever attended a steampunk event? What was your favorite part of the experience?